Now that you’re past the decision-making stage, it’s time to think strategically about getting the most out of the CRM system, and how to make the setup process as smooth as possible for you and your team.
In this article we explore five simple steps to getting your team prepared for the CRM implementation process.
1 – Get ready for the change
Whether switching systems, or purchasing one for the first time, it’s extremely important that members of your team see that the system has buy-in from the management and executive level. Since this system will be used every single day, it’s critical that management think about existing processes that will change, and to communicate the ways it might affect the team.
Before implementation takes place, share the estimated implementation timeline, dates for training and — perhaps most importantly — share the list of goals your organization has for the new system, and its expected benefits.
2 – Get your contact lists in order
Your team’s years of business development efforts have likely resulted in a mixed bag of purchased lead lists, individually-managed Excel spreadsheets, conference and event attendance lists, and closely-held rolodexes. Take stock of these lists and decide which are relevant and accurate enough to integrate into your new CRM software.
Not sure what needs to go and what needs to stay? Consider what information you need for a productive day of outbound calling or emailing. What data helps those conversations go smoothly? Which fields are confusing or yield inconsistent information? Take note of fields you’re not sure what to do with, and if necessary, decide on new labels or naming conventions for the fields you want to keep.
3 – Assess your data cleanliness level
In order to speed along the data integration process, you must first think objectively about your data cleanliness. Is your database in disarray? An honest assessment is a critical step.
The goal of data normalization is to cleanse your records while simultaneously weeding out the superfluous data that could potentially clog your new CRM. While thoroughly reviewing your data can be taxing on your team’s time and resources, it’s important to fill in blank fields and remove duplicates. Even one hour of cleansing per day in the weeks leading up to implementation can significantly reduce the amount of ‘dirty data’ in your CRM. Minimizing and standardizing the number of fields, activity types and statuses is often a great place to start.
As you begin the data normalization process with your team, keep in mind the ‘must have’ fields discussed above, and create consensus around a ‘less is more’ mentality. Does that piece of data help you connect the dots between a contact and a business development opportunity? Has that field shown to be instrumental in helping your team get a deal done? If not, it may become the type of data that muddies your new CRM system. It may even create the same pain points you’ve already experienced.
4 – Make New Habits
Put simply, clean data does not stay clean by its own volition. Your efforts to cleanse data can easily be undone with a few short weeks of careless use. That’s why when implementing a CRM software at your company, it’s important to get all users ready to change their behavior. No matter the size of your organization, if they’re going to touch the software at some point in time, they need to be prepared to make new habits.
Making a concerted effort upfront to train team members on the importance of avoiding redundancies and errors can significantly impact how useful your CRM system becomes over time. It’s not enough to install simple measures such as ‘required field’ functions to help your team avoid inputting incomplete data: you must stop human errors and break old, bad habits before they start.
In the weeks leading up to implementation, the team must internalize the importance of clean data and be prepared to spend more time on maintenance — and this includes everyone from the top to the bottom of the totem pole. When their outbound calling and deal sourcing efforts become more productive as a result, they’ll thank you for mandating these behavior changes.
5 – Don’t go it alone
If the implementation of your CRM system feels overwhelming and complex, rest assured that following these simple steps will get your team off to a great start.
Over 350 firms have migrated to DealCloud’s CRM because of the way it adapts to meet the complexities of modern deal making and of business development teams of all shapes and sizes. Don’t go it alone — seek guidance from DealCloud’s dedicated teams who have blueprints for making CRM implementation faster and more meaningful for the specific needs of your firm.